Do You Need Rest? Come To Me, All Who Are Weary

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

I don’t think I’ve ever felt wearier than I have these past six months. I don’t need to go into all the boring details. There hasn’t been a crisis or anything like that.

Jen has been dealing with ongoing health challenges and life has dealt us some unexpected blows. That’s all. Nothing crazy out of the ordinary. Just the hardness of life.

Except that I am.

So.

Very.

Weary.

I often feel like I’m carrying 10,000 spine-curling burdens.

I feel the weight of Jen’s discouragement over her chronic struggles.

I feel the strain of trying to get my kids to school and track and soccer, all while staying on top of homework and field trips and ensuring that everyone has both lunch and a snack in their backpacks (seriously, school is way too complicated these days).

I feel the burden of trying to determine what God has for us in the future.

And I feel the pressure that every self-employed person experiences (I’m a freelance writer).

None of these things is a particularly big deal on its own, but when they tag team and dogpile on top of each other, the result is consistent soul weariness. A profound malaise. A deep inner fatigue.

It’s the kind of tiredness that sleep can’t fix, the kind of worn-out-ness that a vacation won’t solve.

I need a solution that runs much deeper.

Come To Me All Who Are Weary

I’m so grateful for Jesus’ words when he says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Weary and heavy-laden. Yup. I’d say that describes me pretty well. Scraped thin, like butter over too much bread. Unable to juggle all the balls and keep all the plates spinning.

I feel pretty much like this guy:

come to me all who are weary and heavy laden

My sinful tendency is to try to bear all the burdens myself. Stiff upper lip, keep calm and carry on, that sort of thing. I try to buckle down and just get it all done. To suck it up and push through the tiredness.

I’m sinfully self-sufficient, thinking that I can make it on my own.

Of course, this doesn’t work particularly well. The result is that I feel staggeringly weary and heavy-laden.

It turns out that God never intended me to bear the burdens of life on my own. I can’t be the chief burden-bearer of my family, or even myself for that matter. If I try to carry all the weights and cares and burdens, I’ll end up being crushed.

God never intended me to bear the burdens of life on my own Click to Tweet

God didn’t create me to live independently.

The hellish idea that I could do such a thing is a lie straight from Satan. It’s his ploy to wear me out and steal the joy of my salvation.

When I feel weighed down and stretched thin, that should be a red flag that I’m not heeding the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden.” Instead of running to Jesus with every struggle and burden, I’m trying to handle everything myself. Trying to keep it all together with my own, extraordinarily limited strength.

The Simple Solution: Come To Jesus

Jesus’ solution for my profound soul-weariness isn’t complicated. He simply says, “Come to me, all who are weary.”

Come to Jesus. That’s it.

Notice that Jesus doesn’t offer practical solutions that will enable to me better juggle my responsibilities. He doesn’t want me to strive for a better work-life balance. He doesn’t prescribe seven habits that will make me highly productive. He doesn’t hand me a copy of the book Getting Things Done.

Instead, he says, “Come to me, all who are weary. Take my yoke upon you.”

Jesus is in the business of exchanging burdens. He wants me to bring all my burdens to him and exchange them for the light yoke that he offers.

In its original context, I believe Jesus is offering freedom from the burden of sin. In other words, we come to Jesus, burdened by our sin, and he offers us free forgiveness and the power to obey God’s commands.

But I think the application of this passage is bigger than just salvation. It seems to me that it’s also an apt description of the entire Christian life.

In 1 Peter 5:7, we are told to, “…[cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

In Philippians 4:6-7, we are commanded to be anxious for nothing. Instead, we are called to:

…in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Christian life is one of total dependence on God. When Jesus says, “Come to me, all who are weary,” it’s because he doesn’t want me buying into the lie of independence. He doesn’t want me thinking that I can get by on my own, relying on my grit and grind and moxie.

I am a dependent creature, and feeling overwhelmed and weary is a sign that I’m trying to live an independent life.

come to me all who are weary esv

In his book New Morning MerciesPaul Tripp describes the lie of self-sufficiency like this:

…self-sufficiency, which tells me that I have everything I need within myself to be what I was created to be and to do what I was designed to do. The fact is that God is the only self-sufficient being in the universe. We were created for dependency, first on God and then on one another in loving community. We need to be taught, encouraged, warned, strengthened, forgiven, healed, restored, counseled, love, rebuked, and delivered – all things we cannot provide for ourselves. Human self-sufficiency is a lie. 

The solution to my weariness isn’t to be better organized, more efficient, or more productive. And ultimately, the solution isn’t even different circumstances. A new set of circumstances wouldn’t erase the self-sufficiency which has wrapped itself around my heart.

The solution is to heed the sweet words of Jesus: “Come to me, all who are weary.”

I exchange my self-sufficiency for his all-sufficiency.

My weariness for his strength.

My brokenness for his wholeness.

My exhausti0n for his infinite grace.

Abide In Jesus

In John 15:4, Jesus says:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

When I’m weary and heavy-laden, the solution is to abide in Jesus. To draw near to Jesus. To cast all my burdens on Jesus.

This doesn’t mean that Jesus will necessarily change the circumstances and make everything okay. In fact, he probably won’t. It does mean that he will provide me with all-sufficient grace to bear fruit, even in the midst of exhausting, wearying circumstances.

In his incredibly helpful book A Praying LifePaul Miller puts it this way:

If you try to seize the day, the day will eventually break you. Seize the corner of his garment and don’t let go until he blesses you. He will reshape the day.

I must learn to stop trying to seize the day, and instead to seize the corner of his garment.

35 comments

  • I think you are dead on target and your solution is dead on. The touch of His garment cured the woman with the blood issue and it will cover whatever issue we have. We just have to remember He is the answer and in the howling noises of the day….we forget.

  • Stephen, how I love your writings!!! They all apply to the struggles we face. Life is so…. daily! We are so weak, He is so strong. Lord I believe…. help my unbelief!!
    Thanks for transparency, and so beautifully expressing the truth in His Word! I will seize a corner of His garment today!! Well said!

  • Hi, Stephen,
    I am a 67-year-old woman who cares for both my 92-year-old mother and my 34-year-old disabled daughter, so I can totally relate to what you are saying! If we have the Lord, we have hope in tomorrow! I really cannot understand how people can stand it without God– it is sometimes hard to stand it even when we do have Him! The scriptures you quoted have definitely helped me get through life, which we know is a drop in the bucket compared to eternity!

    • Hey Cathy! Wow. I can’t imagine doing what you’re doing! And yes, you’re so right. What we experience here truly is just a drop in the bucket compared to eternity

  • I recently suffered some loss from Hurricane Harvey and then had a pipe break under my home that caused our family to be displaced. That season of life was very designated and left me very weary. I learned that Jesus is truly the only hope and certainty that I have. He loves me and sustains me in the darkest of hours.

    • So sorry to hear that Michael. I’ve witnessed first hand the destructive power of hurricanes. I’m glad that you’ve found Jesus to be the one who sustains you even in your darkest hours. I’ve found the same.

  • Thanks for sharing. I feel particularly weary around this time of the year. I almost wish I could go into hibernation and wake up in the spring. This time of the year has a lot of social invites that makes my introverted self feel overwhelmed. I’m learning more to seek God for wisdom for when and which activities I should say no to, and to feel OK about it. I’m praying for you and others to more easily give Jesus our burdens in exchange for His rest.

  • Great post Stephen. Greetings from England. My problem is (maybe i’m too impatient) that this season of woe doesn’t ever stop. Years and Years now, not one ounce of joy. I’ve surrendered everything to Jesus. Asked him to be in control. Guide me lead me change me…. anything but this. I’ll move, I’ll do anything. But still nothing. Frightened now. Have been for a long while.

    • I am so, so very sorry to hear that Mark. This may be too personal of a question, but have you ever considered that you may be dealing with clinical depression? From my own experiences with clinical depression, what your describing sounds very similar. Zero joy. It could be worth exploring with a doctor.

      • Thanks for your reply Stephen. Funny how this works. But a huge weight off of my shoulder just texting you my thought and your reply. Got no-one else (no family etc) to talk to. Woke up this morning feeling better than I have done for ages. That’s what God does sometimes. Hope it’s a new start. Thanks.

  • As usual, funny and encouraging. We’re self-supported missionaries (freelance?) working among immigrants in Texas and have had half our funding cut. Overwhelmed by it. Waiting for God to provide another local job (applied for several) or a post in another country or something. No idea what we’re supposed to do, besides make do with less now, and keep applying. Bless you for your Scriptural wisdom.

  • Hi Stephen, thanks for your great post and it was a good timing to read this particular one. Cos lately, I am also heavily burdened, struggling to make ends meet (I am a freelance designer), therefore, I can understand the weariness you mentioned in your post. I am really glad to be reminded (once again) that I should rely and depend on God FOR everything and IN everything and let Him take control.

    • Amen Priscilla. If I didn’t have the firm hope that God was in control of everything, I would fall apart. He’s the only one who can keep me going in the midst of the weariness. I pray that you also experience this grace.

  • So as a body of believers, when things are so hard and we slog on is unscriptural or ungodly to share what you are going through and ask for help from the local congregation that you attend? So often we can be Jesus’ hands and feet. I would think that some meals, house or yard cleaning, rides for the kids, store gift cards for meals or whatever, or even a “love offering “ would be not only a blessing to you all, BUT even more to the givers as well. It’s just another way of sharing each other’s burdens which is a great thing to do.

  • I was weary and depressed. Then I realize I am going through menopause. I had to resign my job but things were so bad, but praise God things are changing. I am feeling much better. I was recommended by my pastor to take B12 and B6 and with prayer and fasting and Faith in God’s word. I am feeling much better. I pray that healing will come to all who is challenged. I have watched God work some miracle in my life. Keep trusting God and keep giving and watch God work.

  • I’m thankful for your post, and these comments, that remind me I’m not alone in feeling weary and heavy-laden (I was also recently displaced due to mold exposure in my apartment that was making me extremely sick, on top of trying to recover from Lyme Disease; I was on medical leave for two months). However, I’m also thankful not only for the reminder that I’m not the only one experiencing weariness, but also that Jesus is with me in it and offers me His yoke. It’s been a little overwhelming returning to a 40+ hour work week, and I’ve definitely been caught up in thinking I just need to be more organized or disciplined. I often forget Jesus and the simple call He gives me to give my burdens to Him. Thanks for the reminder. It reminds me of a blog post I wrote years ago about giving Him our burdens and taking His yoke up. You can check it out here if you want: https://tamaradoyle.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/held-2/

  • Thank you for this article and the one you recently wrote on prayer! Looking forward to my ESV devotional journal! May God bless you abundantly!

  • Hey Stephen, loved this. Self-reliance is my biggest struggle, and a sort of theme for this season that God is redeeming and transforming. I especially appreciated you highlighting that Jesus doesn’t give us tips, tricks, hacks or even better circumstances, but rather himself. I’m slowly learning that he is enough. Thanks, as always, for sharing honestly and pointing us to the Lord.

  • Great reminder that we need to rely on God. Thanks for your wise words and prayers for relief from your weariness.

  • I want to start by saying that I’m always blessed or challenged by your posts, so thank you!

    But this article is very specifically what I needed to read today. I don’t know why I’m just seeing it today but it’s perfect timing.

    Thank you so much for your perspective and reminder to depend solely on Jesus. I am a type A personality who tends to think that with the right equation of lists, organization and routines I can rule the world. (They help, no doubt!) But that’s not truly what my soul needs. Thanks again!

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